Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Up to Me - Part 3 on Faith Transition -

Interestingly, I found my solace in music! Neil Young, Cheryl Wheeler, Greg Brown, John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Iris DeMent's "Let the Mystery Be," validated my religious beliefs; Nanci Griffith's "I Live On a Battlefield," was me, and I fully acknowledged the battlefield was of my creation. I am ever so grateful for music that put lyrics and sounds to my emotions; the one place where I found comfort and release. And if this music was outside, in the warmth of a sunny summer day, I was able to worship my creator - because I had never quit believing in a higher power.

I've vacillated back and forth since those angry years. I found happiness, or at least peace, with my religious surroundings. I thank my cancer journey for giving me the time to go inside, and for taking away the energy to go outside. I thank the Givens for their book, "The God Who Weeps," and Brad Wilcox for his book, "The Continuous Atonement." I read little other of a spiritual nature during my time of confinement; these were my Mormon theology go-to's."The Tao of Pooh" touched my heart, and I hungered for simplicity and complexity, and I found it.

Today - my church congregation is not my family. I don't expect anything glorious from it. I have attempted to find my home within my congregation, but I have determined it is not my social circle, it is only a house for my spiritual actions, really, nothing more. And having no expectations has been quite freeing. I serve when asked, I have even volunteered, but I have absolutely no buy-in, and some days I'm disappointed, and some days I find this liberating.

I have no voice within my religious congregation. I will not be consulted as to whom I think the next RS President, the next Bishop, Stake President, Home Teacher will be. I will not be consulted when Enrichment Night activities are assembled. I will not be consulted, nor have I ever, in regards to members and membership, that remains a man's right, a man's voice. Although there are plenty of women who can now speak in that voice. I tried - once. I've decided I don't want one. I am disenfranchised, I did it to myself. I will not be consulted in regards to my areas of expertise - no one has asked me to teach about culture, grief, dying, family traditions; although I did once volunteer to make a casket piece out of garden flowers - it was beautiful.

At 58 the lessons I've learned are lessons I'm still learning. Don't follow anyone off a cliff, get help when needed, find your own path, but remember there are choices to modes of travel. Travel lightly, travel wisely, and travel with hope and peace as companions rather than anger and fear. Doubt is good - it's the momentum to getting moving. Doubt is the drive toward something more. And resignation is a good way to close one door. And a closed door can be a good thing.

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